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Mona Bristow receives Northeast 4-H Award of Distinction

ELK POINT - She’s been a 4-H member, a 4-H Craft project leader, and the assistant general leader of both the Elk Point 4-H Beef Club and the Elk Point 4-H Multi Club, the president of St. Paul District 4-H, and that’s only the beginning.
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Elk Point 4-H Beef Club members, leaders, parents and Lakeland This Week’s show day reporter surround Northeast Award of Distinction winner Mona Bristow (back row, centre) with good wishes during the club’s weigh day at K-Cow Ranch, before all joining in to share the cake celebrating her achievement.

ELK POINT - She’s been a 4-H member, a 4-H Craft project leader, and the assistant general leader of both the Elk Point 4-H Beef Club and the Elk Point 4-H Multi Club, the president of St. Paul District 4-H, and that’s only the beginning.  

Mona Bristow has been F. G. Miller High School’s Parent Council president since 2014, the grad class treasurer since 2016, was instrumental in bringing access for student driver training to Elk Point, helped to connect the 4-H club with the County of St. Paul and Elk Point FCSS and Elk Point Community Lions to help with their Santas Anonymous program, and assisted with planning provincial hockey tournaments at A. G. Ross Arena, where she has often been found working in the concession booth or spearheading fundraising projects for the arena. 

That doesn’t even include her ongoing commitment to random acts of kindness, wherever she sees a need. 

All those aspects of 4-H and community involvement, and more, were part of the nomination submitted by the St. Paul 4-H District for the Northeast Award of Distinction, which the Heinsburg area farm wife received this autumn. 

One of three testimonials attached to the nomination came from Elk Point 4-H Beef Club’s general leader, Jennifer Germain, who commented on Bristow’s “natural ability to include everyone with a fun and welcoming demeanor that has made her a member favourite for the last decade of her leadership. She exemplifies true 4-H spirit with her giving nature, drive for community involvement and striving to bring members of different backgrounds together.”  

She added that, “Mona doesn’t just lead members, she also leads the leaders.  Mona has always been the one to encourage and give confidence to new 4-H parents and encourage strong parent involvement. This is evident in our 20:13 ratio of members to leaders in our club. I can personally attest to this as she gave me the guidance and encouragement needed to become general leader of our club.” 

The Beef Club’s assistant leader, Janice Wirsta, has worked with Bristow over the past 10 years and feels that “Mona exemplifies the 4-H Spirit as she supports each and every event within the 4-H program, from ‘Show Your 4-H Colours’ in November to 4-H summer and winter camp programs to the 4-H Canada Science Fair,” encouraging members to step out of their comfort zone and try new programs and adventures. “She is a firm believer in the benefit of each and every 4-H program and wholeheartedly encourages participation.” 

She adds that Bristow has “been very involved at the district level in the St. Paul District, encouraging members to attend, participate and hold executive positions at the meetings. Mona has also assisted with programs at the district level, including organizing district bowling, the district steer show and district fundraising.” 

As Bristow’s three children reached the end of their 4-H years, she has encouraged and trained new leaders to take on leadership roles both in the club and at district level to ensure the continuity of the program, Wirsta notes. 

“I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of this recognition. Mona shows just the right amount of leadership and encouragement for members and leaders to become involved, and she know just the right time to step back and let them fly on their own.” 

A third testimonial came from Margaret Bayduza, who has worked with Bristow both at the high school and arena/minor hockey level, and added her firm belief that this was indeed an individual well deserving of an award of distinction.